Development on the cards? 10 quick things to think about first.
Development deals can enhance your landholding and estate overall. However, all property development carries inherent risks and does so for all involved. Good legal support mitigates these risks by spotting issues early. Thinking about the possible legal issues you may hit will save you time and money. The following are some of the issues to be alive to:
- Vacant possession: is there anyone else on the land and will they leave? If it is an agricultural or business occupier, what is the nature and status of the occupier - does this need review or clarification?
- Boundaries: are the physical boundaries clear and secure. Who has control over the boundary features or gates? Are there any party walls or neighbouring issues apparent or could be festering?
- Restrictive covenants: are there any restrictive covenants on the title and if so are they enforceable? They will require careful legal scrutiny but solutions can be generated with a good lead-in time.
- Planning constraints: are there any constraints on existing or anticipated planning permissions and statutory agreements impacting your land? Do you have a handle on what these will be via the local authority?
- Rights of Way and Easements: is the land burdened by third-party easements? If so which land benefits from them, and who should be approached to secure a release or variation?
- Public Highways: does the site abut an adopted highway at all essential points, or does it rely on private easements for access (field gates etc)? Are there any further actions that can be taken now?
- Utilities and services: is there sufficient land to create any new services and/or do any existing services have adequate capacity to serve any new development? Checking with the utilise companies can be done direct, in most cases.
- Environmental and nature conservation issues: is the project likely to encounter contamination, flooding, ground stability, or archaeological issues? Local knowledge of these can save time ahead of formal surveys and searches.
- Local constraints: is there a risk of registration of land as a town or village green? The underlying legislation has become the weapon of choice for those seeking to delay development proposals.
- Telecoms or other undertakings: will these need to be removed or lifted and shifted. Are there rights to allow this or do they need to be built in?